1. New Orleans Saints
The defending champs did a good job in the off-season; retaining their players and setting themselves up to make another run at the title.
2. Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens were the winners of the off-season. They had a great draft, their young O-Line got older, and they were able to acquire Anquon Boldin. Right now the Ravens are the favorite in the AFC.
3. Indianapolis Colts
The Colts are the Colts but we have to wonder when they will feel the effects of losing Tony Dungy. As long as they have Peyton Manning they will be in it at the end of the year.
4. Dallas Cowboys
Dez Bryant will help this team immediately. The McNabb trade helps the Cowboys by weakening the Eagles; it will take a year or so for the Redskins to figure out how to use him.
5. New England Patriots
New England’s young players will be better this next year, but their old players will be older. If Randy Moss can keep his speed and having a healthy Tom Brady, the Patriots should win the AFC East.
6. Minnesota Vikings
If Farve comes back, this team will jump up the list. If he doesn’t, then they will stay here. They have a great defense and sorry to tell you Chris Johnson, but AP is still the best running back in the league.
7. Green Bay Packers
Brian Bulaga needs to have an immediate impact because last year they couldn’t keep Aaron Rodgers standing.
8. New York Jets
Typically trying to buy a team isn’t the way to go but with Rex Ryan at the helm, the Jets might be able to pull off another AFC Championship run.
9. San Diego Chargers
The Chargers lost Jammal Williams this off-season, on top of their other losses, it looks like a tough year for the Chargers.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers
If Ben could keep it in his pants, this team would be contending, but without him for four games they will probably miss the playoffs.
11. Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons have the makings of a great team, a good defense, a fast offense, and most importantly a franchise QB; Matt Ryan should be huge this year.
12. Cincinnati Bengals
It’s a shame Carson Palmer hasn’t been the same since his knee injuries. At one point he was a top three QB, if he gets back to that, the Bengals will be dangerous.
13. San Francisco 49ers
I am on the Alex Smith bandwagon. With that said if he plays well, the 49ers should win the NFC west. If they get into the playoffs look out; their defense could win them some games.
14. New York Giants
Has anyone else noticed that Eli Manning constantly looks like somebody stole his lunch? The Giants have to hope that the additions made to their D-line can return to championship form.
15. Miami Dolphins
Bringing in Brandon Marshall could be a double edge sword. On one hand he is a beast on the field, on the other his off the field issues could get him in trouble. If he was able to find all those distractions in Denver, imagine what he could get into in Miami.
16. Houston Texans
Andre Johnson is the best receiver in the league right now. If Schab stays healthy, this could be the first year the Texans make the playoffs.
17. Tennessee Titans
Two weeks ago the Titans would have been higher up on this list but after another Vince Young incident I can’t justify predicting them going 500. I hope that Young can get it together but it might be time to consider if a different career would benefit the young man. Chris Johnson could have another good year but don’t count on him breaking any more records.
18. Washington Redskins
The Redskins will be fun to watch. Donovan McNabb might have been the least appreciated player of the last decade. He will continue to be underappreciated until he wins the Super Bowl, and I bet he knows that. NFC East is stacked, but don’t sleep on the Skins.
19. Philadelphia Eagles
Year one of the post-McNabb era isn’t going to be pretty. I find it odd that for so long the best player on the field was the Eagles’ QB but their receivers were trash. Now that McNabb’s gone, the receivers are good and the QB is mediocre.
20. Denver Broncos
I like that Josh McDaniels has a plan. Unfortunately, the problem with having a plan is that you have to get it started. The last couple of years the Broncos have purged their team. They aren’t as talented as they were two years ago but they might be better off for it.
21. Arizona Cardinals
The Cards lost so much this off-season it would be ridiculous to think that they won’t take a step back. By the way Joey Porter is not the answer.
22. Jacksonville Jaguars
This team has a chance to do better than their ranking implies because they have Mo-Jo Drew. Tyson Alualu was probably the most unexpected pick of the draft but don’t sleep on him becoming a stud in the NFL.
23. Chicago Bears
Don’t expect DAAAAA BEARS to do much this season. I don’t get why a team would decide that they want to be the Redskins and sign every free agent with a big name. Peppers makes their team better but chemistry is huge in football and it takes awhile to build after an off-season like the Bears had. Also the Mike Martz signing is crazy. The Bears have a QB who is reckless and then they pick up a coordinator who wants his quarterback to throw the ball every down. I predict that Cutler will set the record for most interceptions in a season this year.
24. Oakland Raiders
Call me a Homer if you’d like but I have the Raiders winning the AFC West this year. The Raiders had a good draft for the first time in years, they finally have a decent QB, and they are fast. Watch out for the Raiders this season.
25. Detroit Lions
The Lions are a couple years away from being relevant. Stafford looked like a young Troy Aikmen at times last year. They have built an almost solid defense, and Jahvid Best is my pick for offensive rookie of the year.
26. Carolina Panthers
It’s interesting that a team that is two years removed from success is so far down the list but losing Julius Peppers would be a huge step back for any team. Also I just don’t think that Williams and Stewart will be very effective until Steve Smith and the passing game gets going.
27. Seattle Seahawks
The Hawks simply do not have enough talent at this point to be a winning football team. Pete Carrol might be a good head coach but it will take him a few years to transform this team.
28. Cleveland Browns
The Holgren signing is huge, but just like the Hawks they don’t have the talent to compete, the difference between the two is that the Browns signed Colt McCoy. I’d bet at this time next year we will be talking about the Browns as a dark horse for the playoffs
29. Kansa City Chiefs
I am not a believer in Matt Cassel. I’m predicting that this will be his last year as a starter.
30. Buffalo Bills
The Bills should call TO back because that’s the only way they could be relevant next year. The Bills could end up higher on this list if CJ Spiller lives up to his hype.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I really like Josh Freeman but he doesn’t have enough around him to win more than a few games. I probably wont get another chance to talk about the Bucks for a while so I guess I should mention that one of my favorite players is Cadillac Williams. I would call him the Little Engine that could but he’s more like the Big Engine that still could even on broken tracks. Anybody who comes back from the injuries this guy’s had has heart.
32. St. Louis Rams
Finally, we have the Rams. Steven Jackson is a beast; he’s big, he’s tough, and he’s fast. But he did hurt his back last year. If they want Screech a.k.a Sam Bradford to be successful they better wait to play him until Jackson’s back to 100 percent.