>\n\nPreseason NFL Power Poll - The Good, The Bad and The Bills \n\n\n\n

Preseason NFL Power Poll - The Good, The Bad and The Bills

Written by Curt Popejoy on 08/05/2010

Every year about this time, fans of 32 NFL Football teams look ahead to the season with either hope for a push into the playoffs or pray that the franchise they love doesn’t embarrass them yet again. Fortunately with the way the NFL runs its business many more teams look ahead with hope than despair.  There have been some serious moves this offseason with more to come and so looking at who’s the top and who’s the bottom is a little more complicated than last year’s finish.  And I have made sure to put on my fireproof underwear for the flames I am going to get for how this is all shaking out. But if you're into NFL betting there might be a few good tips in here.

32. Buffalo Bills
 The Bills should have but did not address their quarterback position. This is a QB driven league and they are in an AFC East that is far more competitive than they are talented.  They have holes all over the field on both sides of the ball, and I really don't see more than a couple of possible wins on their schedule.  The Bills need a reality show on VH1.
31. Cleveland Browns
Another team in a division that promises lots of pain and suffering all season long.  And another team that did nothing to really improve its quarterback position no matter how badly it needed to.  Cleveland the city traded LeBron James for Jake Delhomme.
30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
 I don’t think the Bucs are bad.  They are just really young.  Like top ten players all in their early 20s kind of young.  So that means they are going to show just enough flashes to get Bucs fans excited, but their inexperience will mean they don’t know how to close out games.
29. Seattle Seahawks
 I know that everyone is excited about new Head Coach Pete Carroll, but the fact is, they just aren’t that talented yet for any amount of coaching to help. Next season I expect to put them much higher, but they are very definitely a work in progress right now.
28. Detroit Lions
 I had a hard time putting the Lions this low and then I remembered just how bad their pass defense was last season.  Another team that should be much improved in 2011 but not ready yet.
27. St Louis Rams
 Most every pundits no. 32 team, but not mine.  They have their franchise QB, an improving Offensive Line, and a dominant running back.  The defense won’t hold up its end of the bargain, but the future is bright in St Louis.
26. Chicago Bears
 I say this not as a Jay Cutler basher, because I’m not, but this team will never be great as long as he’s under center.  He’s going to wow you a few times a game with amazing throws that no other QB can make, and then he'ill break your heart when it counts most.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars
 I honestly think this team has a lot of talent all over the field.  But they are forever the bride’s maid to Indianapolis and to make matters worse Houston and Tennessee are both much improved.  Another team that I think needs a serious makeover at the QB position.
24. Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City’s big personnel splashes they made this offseason happened to be mostly on the coaching staff bringing in Romeo Crennel and Charlie Weis, but make no mistake adding pieces like Thomas Jones at RB and rookie S Eric Berry means this team is going to be improved.  In a division dominated by San Diego 2nd is really up for grabs.
23. Oakland Raiders
I seriously considered the Raiders at 24, but I could have just as easily stuck them a little higher as well.  Jason Campbell isn’t the eternal screw ball that Jamarcus Russell was, and that alone means the team is better, but don’t discount a sneaky good defense.
22. Carolina Panthers
Another team that is going with a quarterback makeover and a team that will be much better in 2011.  But this year, they are just minus too many pieces to be a serious contender.   Another very young team and a lame duck head coach.  Bad combo Panther fans.
21. Philadelphia Eagles
This team is probably more talented than this, but I just can’t help but seeing Kevin Kolb costing this team a few games as he gets his feet wet in the NFL.  And their schedule is brutal.
20. New York Giants
On offense I happen to like this team a lot.  Their line is really good, and their skill players are underrated.  But the defense that has carried them so many times is going through a serious overhaul and will need to step up and play big in a hurry.
19. Washington Redskins
For all the offseason stuff going on with Albert Haynesworth-less, this is still a league that depends on the quarterback and Donovan McNabb can still play at a very high level.  He’s taken less talented offenses to the playoffs.
18. Denver Broncos
When I realized I hadn’t included Denver yet I tried to find a team to swap them out with but there wasn’t really one that stood out.  They are probably still not a playoff team, but I think with teams like Kansas City and Oakland on their schedule the wins will be out there for them.  And make no mistake in some capacity or another Tim Tebow will improve this offense.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers
Big Ben being out to start the year for at least 4 and possibly 6 games could mean no playoffs for the Steelers.  You mix in trading away their best wide receiver and I have to wonder where the points are going to come from, especially in the first ¼ of the year.  My guess is Ben comes back the same week S Troy Polamalu is lost to injury.
16. Arizona Cardinals
I am giving Matt Leinart a huge benefit of the doubt here. He’s got so much talent around him with guys like Beanie Wells and Larry Fitzgerald that even he can’t screw it up.  Plus Darnell Dockett is one of the most entertaining NFL players on Twitter.  The offensive line will need to get Wells going in the run game to take the heat off Leinart.
15. Miami Dolphins
I am selling the Dolphins as an elite team.  I don’t think they have enough on defense, especially rushing the passer, and putting a team in the hands of Chad Henne for a full season is risky.  Miami won games last year by the skin of their teeth and I am not sure they can do it 2 seasons in a row.
14. Tennessee Titans
I love that Vince Young has turned his career around and I think once again he and Chris Johnson will be electric to watch.  But I am just not sure if their defense is going to be able to stop anyone and for a team that’s going to live and die on the ground, playing catch-up won’t be a good combination.
13. Houston Texans
Look out for the Texans.  I just have a funny feeling about them that they are going to be giant slayers this season.  They’ve got a great young offensive line, good quarterback play, an elite wide out, and I love the run game with the addition of Auburn’s Ben Tate.  On defense Mario Williams has become a dominant force and there are pieces all over that side of the ball to be excited about.
12. San Francisco 49ers
First of my Pre-Season Elite 12.  Coach Singletary has put together a team that is going to pound it down your throats on the ground. Good old 3 yards and a cloud of dust type of offense.  But those types of offenses typically don’t have pass catchers like Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis. This is all being done, along with a stout defense, to minimize what Alex Smith has to do on offense. There’s no way they can win the Super Bowl with Smith under center but they can certainly win their division.
11. New York Jets
I cringe a little putting the Jets this high.  I know that they are the hot name on everyone’s lips for the Super Bowl this year, but there are a couple of things I really have a concern with.  First is the absence of Thomas Jones.  Don’t think for a second they won’t miss him.  Second is the pass rush.  In the 3-4, who’s the James Harrison/Demarcus Ware type presence as a pass rusher?  And third, I am not sure Mark Sanchez is ready to be an elite NFL quarterback. Oh and did I mention their best player, DarrelIe Revis is holding out?  I just have a hunch by the end of the season I have this team much lower.
10. Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons are a real contender in the NFC this year. Their defense is rock solid all over the field, their offensive line really came together last year, and I love their backs and wide outs.  How far this team goes will weigh heavily on the arm of quarterback Matt Ryan. I love Ryan’s potential and if he can realize some of it right away, I can see this as a top 2 or 3 team in the NFL.
9. New England Patriots
Everyone seems to be selling the Patriots this year.  So I’ll buy them cheap.  They still have a great head coach and let’s be honest they still have Tom Brady.  And when you have an elite quarterback in this league, you are amongst a rare few.  Brady may not have the talent around him some other QBs do, but we’ve seen him win Super Bowls with some pretty average players around him.
8. Cincinnati Bengals
No, I didn’t bump the Bengals way up when I saw they signed a second D list reality star.  Even before TO came into the fold, I figured the Bengals to be one of the top teams in the AFC. Carson Palmer is the Rodney Dangerfield of NFL QBs.  He don't get no respect. He’s a great talent but never gets mentioned in the same breath as the top signal callers. This year with the addition of TO and rookie tight end Jermaine Gresham this offense could be a matchup nightmare for opposing teams. And the defense for my money is about as underrated as any in the league.
7. Baltimore Ravens
I give the Ravens a slight edge over the Bengals for a couple of reasons.  One, I think they can run the ball better and in the AFC North that is a must.  Two, I think their defense is slightly better. Although losing Domonique Foxworth  makes a unit that wasn’t real deep even thinner.  Going to have to rely on the offense and the front 7 in a big way.
6.  San Diego Chargers
If I knew for sure Vincent Jackson was going to be a part of the mix and motivated to play hard, I’d have bumped the Chargers a spot. But as good as Rivers is, and as good as I believe Ryan Mathews is going to be, the passing offense needs Jackson is a big way. On defense I don’t see the dominance we’ve seen in the past but the talent is there to keep scores low.

One note before I post my Top 5-Obviously the first thing you will notice is I have included the Minnesota Vikings.  This obviously would change in a huge way if and/or when Brett Favre decides to retire.  In fact I contend that the Vikings are a legit Super Bowl contender with him, and not even a playoff team without him.  That has less to do with Favre and more to do with the lack of talent behind him at quarterback.  The other thing you will notice is that 4 of the 5 teams in my Top 5 are from the NFC.  The NFC looks poised to be the dominant conference this year.

5. Green Bay Packers
Love the combinations they have. Franchise QB, solid running game, excellent wide receivers and a lot of talent on defense, especially in the front 7. The one thing the Pack has lacked was offensive line play but there’s no reason to believe it won’t be better this year, and assuming it is, this team will be a tough out, especially at home.
4. Dallas Cowboys
No one dislikes putting the Cowboys this high more than me.  As I drove by the alien mothership that is Cowboys stadium this Summer on vacation I contemplated the real possibility that the Cowboys could have a home game Super Bowl for the first time in history.  One more argument to have the Super Bowl in Jacksonville every year.  Seriously, the Cowboys have tons of talent on both sides of the ball, and Tony Romo is a franchise QB with the talent to take this team to the Super Bowl.
3. Minnesota Vikings
As I said above, they are ranked here because of Brett Favre and what he means to this team.  If he deems himself not healthy enough to play, than stick a 2 in front of this ranking.  The running game with Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart should be impressive behind that massive Offensive Line, and a defense anchored by Jared Allen will harass Quarterbacks all year long.  So goes #4 so goes their season.
2. Indianapolis Colts
There is always some debate about who the best quarterback in the league is, but for my money I want Peyton Manning 100 times out of 100.  Like Tom Brady he’s the great equalizer when it comes to the talent around him. The difference is Manning has a lot of talent around him on offense.  Now if we could just get Reggie Wayne to grow a set and play a little tougher, it would all be good. On defense, it will be more of the bend don’t break mentality, but with the way Manning and the offense can move the football, the defense just needs to be able to get back on  the field without a lot of rest.
1. New Orleans Saints
I have to be consistent here. I’ve always said that the champ is the champ until they lose. Same rules apply to the Saints.  Do I expect another run like last season?  No. That team, in particular their defense, played way over their skis all season long.  While I do believe that the offense will continue to put up Madden-esque stats all season long I am not sure that letting teams get ahead early and rallying week after week will work two years in a row.  If their defense can't keep it close early this year, they will drop some games. But all in all, this team is probably still the most talented of any in the NFC, and very well coached. If they were in the AFC they would be in a much better position to repeat but regardless the Saints should be in the mix right to the end.

Last Edited: 08/05/2010

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