The wait is finally over.
After the Super Bowl, there is a small stretch of time until the NFL draft, then your team grabs some fresh-faced 21 yr old who you are absolutely positive is going to change the dynamic of your team. Then you play the waiting game. Thankfully, this year we had two weeks of women’s volleyball to get us through the sports desert known as the MLB baseball season. Then the Olympics end and you begin setting up your fantasy football drafts and complaining to Direct TV about anything and everything so that you can get a free NFL Sunday Ticket package! (Hint: Start with how upset you were over the Viacom fiasco)
The weight comes to a head tonight gentlemen, as the Cowboys face off against the defending Superbowl Champs the New York Giants. In order to kick the season off right, I am going to give you my power rankings for the start of this season!
1. Green Bay Packers: Let’s not forget that this team went through the regular season basically flawless until hitting that fired up NYG defense. Aaron Rodgers is currently throwing the ball with ease and I do not see that stopping. Green Bay picked up a handful of Defensive players this offseason to improve their only weakness… defense. Should be another smooth season for the Packers.
2. New England Patriots: The Patriots were a few blunders and amazing catches away from winning the Superbowl. They have a solid O-line, a Hall of Fame QB and some shifty receivers. Their biggest problem was their defense last year. DE Chandler Jones is going to be a very good fit for years to come. If he can make an impact early, look for the Patriots to be playing in the season finale once again.
3. Baltimore Ravens: Well, now that scapegoat Billy Cundiff has left town all is well, right ? Maybe. Cundiff did miss a big kick, but not as big as the drop a few plays earlier. The Ravens defense always seems to be Superbowl ready, and in DE Courtney Upshaw and they are down right scary. The Ravens have some work to do on offense, but I expect another deep playoff run.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: The Philadelphia Eagles won every preseason game. What does that mean ? Absolutely nothing. Mike Vick got a little banged up, but it looks like he will be fine. The Eagles have a good defense, a solid running game with McCoy, one of the biggest playmaking QBs Mike Vick and an all or nothing receiver in Jackson who is also a severe threat on punt returns. This is a 12 win team if they can stay healthy. A week two matchup vs Baltimore will be on every fan’s radar!
5. Pittsburgh Steelers: It is a passing league… just don’t tell that to the Pittsburgh Steelers, whom ranked first last year in defending the pass.. but don’t tell that to Tim “316” Tebow. We all know how the Steelers season ended last year. The truth is, they need to fix their offense. Their PPG was horrible last year. In a games-started comparison to Tebow, Big Ben’s offense produced around the same amount of points. Alas, defense wins championships.
6. Chicago Bears: The Bears were flying high last year before injuries to Forte and Cutler doomed their season. Jay Cutler just may be the most underrated QB in the league. Age doesn’t seem to matter to the Bears defense as they keep making big plays. I think Packers win this division, but if the Bears get hot during the playoffs, look out.
7. Houston Texans: The Houston Texans are often overlooked because, well, because they are the Houston Texans. Don’t look now, but they have the makings of a championship contender. Last year their defense ranked in the top 5 against the run and the pass, they have a running back who went in the top 5 on most fantasy football drafts, and a bipolar passing game. The Texans are a legit sleeper team if they can stay healthy.
8. San Francisco 49ers: Last year the 49ers defense was one of the best, the offense was starting to get it together at the end of the season until they ran into a wall known as the Giants defense. Acquiring Randy Moss and Mario Manningham may help spread some defenses for Frank Gore. If the 49ers offense starts putting up 21 points a game, look out.
9. New Orleans Saints: Maybe I am overrating the Saints a bit, but their suspensions were on defense and the Saints are an offensive powerhouse. Missing Coach Payton will hurt a bit, but I think Drew Brees will keep putting up good enough numbers to keep the Saints in games.
10. New York Giants: How are the defending Superbowl champs ranked 9th you ask? They were a mere 9-7 going into the playoffs and were a lost ball by Miles Austin from not even making the playoffs altogether. That being said, they have one of the best pass rushes in the league and Eli seems to wake up late in games.
11. Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons seem to be always a bridesmaid, never a bride. They seem pretty solid all-around yet something keeps holding them back. Back to Back post season blowouts will be on every fans mind this year, but for now, they will be a tough team in the regular season.
12. Detroit Lions: Matt Stafford to Calvin Johnson put up huge numbers, big enough to propel the Lions into the playoffs, but the Lions fell short in other areas. The defense simply wasn’t good enough. The Lions will obviously only go as far as the defense lets them.
13. Dallas Cowboys: Dallas has a much improved Defense from last year. Carr will probably have more of an impact than Clairborne, but the Cowboys will live and die by their banged-up and under-talented offensive line.
14. San Diego Chargers: The Chargers always seem to come up short of their expectations. Their once stacked team has grown old or moved away. They still have Rivers but he could not get the job done with a lot of great tools. It’s hard to imagine how he can get it done now. The Chargers are fighting to stay relevant. A poor season here could cause the Chargers to clean house and enter a rebuilding mode.
15. Denver Broncos: Everybody is very excited about Peyton Manning this season… as they should be. But let’s not forget that the Denver receivers simply are not that good. The Denver running game will obviously drop back to reality without Tebow, but they Broncos still have a really good defense. Time will tell.
The rest of the league still has some work to do in order to make it into contender status.
20.New York Jets
21.Kansas City Cheifs
25.Tampa Bay Buccaneers
30.St Louis Rams