1. New Orleans Saints. Until you’re beaten on the field, the Super Bowl Champs are entitled to lay claim to the top spot. The Saints have a lot of cracks to fill, but until September rolls around, they must be given the benefit of the doubt.
2. Indianapolis Colts. Last year’s Super Bowl runner-up is perennially dangerous, and there has been nothing to demonstrate that they will not be able to return to their winning ways. Peyton Manning is one of the greatest QB’s to ever play the game, no matter what tools he has around him, he still makes any team he’s on very dangerous.
3. Green Bay Packers. This team has gotten consistently better every day of the off season. If the unit continues to mature, and Arron Rodgers continues to improve, they will be a force to reckon with.
4. Baltimore Ravens. On paper this should be the most balanced and intimidating unit that Baltimore has ever been able to assemble. Two questions are all that stand between the Birds of Baltimore and a trip to Dallas. Can Flacco become the heir apparent to Johnny U?, and can Ray’s Legendary Linebackers and the upgraded Defensive Line compensate for the injury plagued secondary.
5. Minnesota Vikings. This is one of the more well constructed teams in the NFL. All it lacks is a motivated and determined Quarterback. Love him or hate him, Favre has proven he has what it takes to get this leviathan rolling. The question is whether he comes back, and whether he can stay healthy.
6. New York Jets. Rex went on a shopping spree this summer and brought in every player he could get off his wish list. Only time will tell whether the hodge podge of talent will pay dividends or succumb to too much ego in too small a locker room.
7. Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys are always good. Execution is their problem. no one doubts the amount of talent they have on both sides of the ball, but of late its been a real issue getting the team to click. Wade Phillips must win this year or start job hunting.
8. Cincinnati Bengals. Could possibly be the most underrated, most dangerous team in the game. I have nothing but good things to say about them. That being said, all depends on Carson’s ability to stay healthy and lead this team.
9. San Diego Chargers. If they can get their players on board they’ll be great. If not, they’ll be middle of the road. Strife in the locker room is victory poison.
10. Miami Dolphins. With the pieces they’ve added, no question they’re in position to make some noise. Have to hope however that Henne continues to grow, and Brandon Marshall can continue his Denver productiveness.
11. Atlanta Falcons. As goes Matt Ryan. So go the Atlanta Falcons.
12. New England Patriots. Old, tired, beat up. These are the death tolls of the Patriot dynasty. Still a sharp and deadly team, but very much in a state of decline. Need to find a way to right the ship.
13. Pittsburgh Steelers. So many problems there’s no real good place to start. That being said, ben or no Ben this is still a good team and will not go quietly into the night.
14. Houston Texans. Fantasy Mega-Stars Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson lead this high powered attack. Inconsistency in other aspects of the game leave many questions to be answered.
15. San Francisco 49ers. The time is now for Alex Smith to earn his hype. Frank Gore and Vernon Davis should help out with that.
16. Philadelphia Eagles. The Kevin Kolb project is the only thing that has me intrigued enough to put the Eagles in the top half of the league.
17. New York Giants. Will the real Eli Manning please stand up? This team has to get back on track quickly lest it be finding itself without a head coach.
18. Tennessee Titans. Chris Johnson alone, does not a team make. Who knows which way this franchise is headed.
19. Washington Redskins. With aging tools to work with and some serious dead weight (Haynesworth). Can Shanahan the Magnificent work his patened magic to get the Skins back to respectability?
20. Chicago Bears. Jay Cutler has the eyes of the world upon his shoulders. He needs to prove that he’s not just a petulant child and grow up into the leader everyone thought he would be.
21. Arizona Cardinals. The world stopped spinning when Kurt retired and left Arizona in the hands of Matt Leinhart.
22. Detroit Lions. I believe in Jim Schwartz’ ability to turn things around in the Motor City. This could be the first big step for the Lions to earn some respect.
23. Seattle Seahawks. Can Pete Carroll bring his winning touch to the NFL? Clearly he has a history of paying good players to come and produce for him, why shouldn’t that work now that it’s legal to do so?
24. Carolina Panthers. Does anyone have any clue what this team is about this year?
25. Denver Broncos. Josh McDaniels experiment take two. Let’s see what the Man-Child comes up with this year.
26. Kansas City Chiefs. Still rebuilding. Not much else to say.
27. Jacksonville Jaguars. Without Maurice Jones-Drew, this franchise is a UFL team at best. The only good thing about their existence is that they prevented Baltimore from being called “The Bombers.” Seriously! Who thought that name was a good idea?
28. Buffalo Bills. From bad to worse. Things aren’t likely to chance soon in upstate New York.
29. Cleveland Browns. Have some potential to be the spoiler, but not likely. This is just phase one of the Holmgren rebuilding plan.
30. Oakland Raiders. They have talent, just lack the pieces needed to make the talent shine. Raiders could be most likely candidate for the “I told you we’d be good award” handed out to most obnoxious barfly at the local pub when the team finishes 8-8.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Re-tooling, re-building, re-launching, still losing.
32. St. Louis Rams. Coming Soon! The Los Angeles Rams!