Well, the lockout has ended and now we can get back to the sport America loves most. The current betting lines in Vegas have the Patriots and Packers as the two current favorites to meet in the Superbowl with the Chargers and Steelers as the 2nd and 3rd choice in the AFC while the Saints, Eagles and Falcons all are in the mix right after Green Bay. Below are my pre-season power rankings that are NOT done by division nor conference. This is solely based on strength of team listed as POWER RANKINGS. I will be publishing an article like this every two weeks updating the current positions.
After adding Ochocinco and Haynesworth this week it is very tough to not have them atop the list. If any coach can get these disgruntled vets to chill out, it is Belichick. Their linebacking core and secondary worry me and in terms of player by player they probably don’t have the most talent in their own division. However, they have Tom Brady, that’s a lot to have.
2. New York Jets:
This is my team to watch this season. I thought last year they had the best overall roster in the league and they were able to re-sign Holmes which was a good start for their off-season. If they are able to add Nnamdi Asomugha who is the best cornerback in the NFL in my opinion that could mean trouble for the rest of the league. With all of this being said, there have been two teams that have won the Superbowl in the last 15 years or more with below average QBs (Trent Dilfer & Brad Johnson). If Sanchez can prove me and basically everybody else wrong, this could be a scary team for the next five years.
After last seasons shocking playoff defeat to the 7-9 Seahawks, Drew Brees and company have to go back to the drawing board. This team has a potent offensive system that will allow them to score points on anybody. They have good defensive players but are inconsistent at times. The big positive they have is they have tasted Superbowl victory so they know what it takes to improve. Stacked roster, great head coach, HOF quarterback, they’ll be a threat all year long.
This team is as experienced when it comes to winning as any team in the league besides New England. They have a QB that through all his issues just finds ways to win and does it in dramatic fashion. Their defense is stacked, as usual and like the teams above them, they have a head coach in Mike Tomlin that is elite and has all his players respect. Pittsburgh will not be taken lightly by anybody.
5. Atlanta Falcons:
Although this team still may be one year away, Owner Arthur Blank has done a simply sensational job re-building this team in the short amount of time he has. QB Matt Ryan is a stud, RB Michael Turner is elite, they have a very good defense that just ran into a buzz saw against Green Bay in the playoffs las year and they traded up in the draft to get WR Julio Jones who I see as a monster play maker. WR Roddy White will love the single coverage he gets all season. With Atlanta it’s the intangibles. Do they have the “it” factor to win big games this season? I think they do. This is a serious team.
They are in this spot solely off respect of being the defending Super Bowl Champions. Besides the fact it is very difficult to win back to back titles, this team was a product of a hot streak in my eyes. Rodgers is fantastic no doubt about it. Matthews and Hawk are possibly the best linebacker core in the league and their secondary is stout. I shy away from them when it comes to overall talent at the skill positions offensively. They do not have depth at WR and Ryan Grant signing a new deal doesn’t exactly excite me. I think Minnesota is much improved as is Chicago. Green Bay has the QB and defense, but they may be in for a down season.
7. Tampa Bay Bucs:
This is my under the radar team for this season. They have a young QB in Josh Freeman who everybody I speak to is crazy about. Their running back situation is deep, they have a stud wide receiver in Mike Williams, a legit TE in Kellen Winslow and their defensive scheme always is consistent. After finishing 10-6 and not making the playoffs last season, they will be a year wiser and a year more aware of late game situations. Look for the Bucs to make the playoffs and to be a threat to anybody they face.
8. San Diego Chargers:
The question seems to always be. “Is this year the Chargers year?” They have an elite stud quarterback in Phillip Rivers and a ton of offensive weapons. When this team catches fire they are as hard to beat as anybody. Look for San Diego to not get off to a terrible start this year as the tide has to turn. Gates seems to be healthy and if it is going to happen for them, this year has to be a big push forward.
9. Indianapolis Colts:
They have Peyton Manning. That can almost wrap this one up as he has earned the respect and acknowledgement as always being a threat to any team when on the field. They are older as a team and the talent level they have had for so many years, which has consisted of numerous hall of famers and pro bowlers has eroded. Look for this to be a last gasp for the Colts.
10. Baltimore Ravens:
It hurt me to put them in the top ten for the sole reason being I think Joe Flacco is one of the more overrated players in the NFL. When the going get tough this guy would choose to hide under a rock. Point proven last year when he looked like a scared puppy during a thunder storm against the Steelers in the playoffs. With that said this team is full of talented players on both sides of the field and in the playoffs when you have a rock solid defense, you’re always a threat.
Written by Jordan Haimowitz for VegasTopDogs.com