The beginning of any sports season leads everyone to make their Power Rankings. I am no different and for the 2009-10 NFL season here are my MikesPickz Official NFL Power Rankings:
*Note* Teams are broken into tiers, each tier is a group of teams that I think will all end with similar records and thus may be interchangeable in my opinion. The tiers are: 1-2, 3-6, 7-12, 13-17, 18-22, 23-27 and 28-32.
1. Steelers– Not much has changed from last season so I don’t see a severe drop in production this year.
2. Patriots- Tom Brady is back, the defense is younger and they have a solid receiving core. I expect them back at the top of the division this year.
3. Eagles– I am a fan of the Michael Vick signing. I think he brings depth and possibilities to the team that were not there before hand. But more than that, I think that LeSean McCoy and Jeremy Maclin will have great rookie seasons. McNabb is 100% ready for the season, DeSean Jackson has 1 year of experience, Westbrook is solid as usual, the defense is solid, and all around I think this team will win the NFC East this year.
4. Chargers– Rivers will be solid as usual, I expect LT to have a bit of a “rebound” season- I think many people feel that his tank is empty, but I expect that to motivate him to another solid season. Vincent Jackson and Gates are solid options for Rivers and the defense with Cromartie and Merriman is very good.
5. Packers– Aaron Rodgers is great, I am a fan of his, and I expect this season to be the first in which he shows that he is a top tier quarterback in the NFL. When I say top tier, I am talking Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning. Plenty of options for him, Grant is solid in the run game and the defense pretty solid.
6. Giants– I have to start out talking about the Giants by saying that Eli Manning is over paid, by alot. He is a good game manager but he is not an elite quarterback that can throw his team on his back and carry them. The Giants make the second tier because they are outstanding on the ground and play great defense.
7. Ravens– I have the Ravens at 7 and tier 3 because I don’t think that Flacco will be as effective as he was last year. Call it a sophmore slump, or whatever you want but I don’t think he is dynamic enough to take over a game yet. But the defense is amazing all around, and this year watch out for Ray Rice- now the feature back and I am expecting great things from him this season.
8. Titans– They lost Haynesworth which is huge- he changes so much about how an O-line blocks and how much time a quarterback thinks he has. I expect their defense to take a hit because of that, but not a complete fall into horrible. They still have a top 10 defense in the NFL and the offense is effective enough (don’t think that Collins is a quarterback to take them to the Super Bowl).
9. Saints– Drew Brees is the man at quarterback. This year they have Colston back and I expect Brees to be challenging and passing Marino’s passing yard record. The running game, I feel, will be a pleasant surprise. The weakness is the defense, but I think that the point scoring ability will be able to make up for much of the defensive short falls.
10. Colts– Peyton Manning is still a top tier quarterback, but his main man (Harrison) is gone. Wayne will fill in nicely at the WR1 position and I think that Gonzalez will be solid as the 2, but its not the same Harrison-Wayne combo. Also, I am not a fan of Addai, and I expect that Donald Brown will be the starter at the end of the season.
11. Vikings– At first I thought that the Favre signing was the missing link to the Vikings. A solid QB with an arm to throw Berrian the deep ball. But, the signing hurt the chemistry of the team, regardless what anyone says, and chemistry is important in the NFL. Peterson is the most dynamic RB in the league and the defense is top 5 in the league, but the team is in a sort of disarray. Favre missed all the training camps, and I don’t think he is game ready– yet.
12. Falcons– Matt Ryan may be another victim of a sophmore slump, but I think that he won’t fall to far. The addition of Gonzalez adds another solid option inside the 20s, Roddy White is a stud, and Michael Turner is a top 3 RB in the game. The defense is good enough to get the job done.
13. Dolphins– Chad Pennington will not be as effective this year, as more and more teams have come to expect the wildcat offense. The offense won’t be the same, now that some of the surprise elements are gone. The defense is OK, and Ronnie Brown is still a stud.
14. Bears– Jay Cutler is what the Bears have needed for years, a solid quarterback. I think he improves Hester’s game and Matt Forte will still be a stud this year. But I think Jay Cutler is slightly overrated, I know I kind of contradict myself, but looking at the numbers- Cutler is a career 17-20 QB, while Orton is 21-12 as a starter. I will let that speak for itself.
15. Cowboys– I think that Romo will be better without the drama of Jessica Simpson behind the scenes and without the drama of T.O. on the scene, but I still don’t think that he is a finisher in the NFL, until he proves otherwise. The new stadium is nice, and I expect that the giant screen will be adjusted before the season ends.
16. Broncos– See above note about Cutler and Orton. The reason the Bears are ranked a head of the Broncos is the Brandon Marshall saga. Once again, team chemistry is important and the Broncos are shaky in that department. But, the Broncos, Bengals, Texans and 49ers are all teams that I think may surprise teams this season.
17. Texans– Matt Schaub is an underrated QB in the NFL, Andre Johnson is the best WR in the NFL, Steve Slaton will have a break-out year and Mario Williams and DeMeco Ryans are an excellent DL-LB combo.
18. Seahawks– I actually think that the NFC West will be won by the Seahawks or 49ers this season. Matt Hasselback still has some game left in the tank, Julius Jones and Edge will make a solid 1-2 punch, and adding T.J. Houshmandzadeh was huge for them. I actually like their receiving core of Burleson, T.J. and Branch. The defense is good enough for that weak devision- I do like the LB core.
19. Redskins– They add to an already great defense in the off-season by signing Haynesworth, but the offense leaves some to be desired. Campbell is good, but he will have to move to the next level this year for the Redskins to think about contending in the NFC East. Portis is good, but on the downside of his career.
20. 49ers- The 49ers are an interesting team this season. They played much better under Mike Singletary last season and now they enter their first season with him as the head coach. I love their defense and feel it is underrated due to the fact that they were on the field too much last season. Shaun Hill, I feel, is a better QB than Alex Smith, but he might not be good enough as he struggles to move the ball at times. Frank Gore and Glen Coffee will be one of the best RB combos this season, but the QB dictates the game. The WR core is OK, Bruce still has some game left- Crabtree would have been a great fit- if his ego wasn’t so big. I hope he never signs, re-enters the draft, doesn’t go in the first round, and goes down as one of the biggest busts of all-time. He has some terrible advisers on his side and they are about to ruin his career (before it starts).
21. Panthers– Delhomme is inconsistant as any QB in the NFL, some days he is a top 10 QB and others is is a bottom 5 QB. He will need to become consistent or DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart will be beat up this season. Also, I maybe one of the only people that thinks this, but I think Steve Smith is slightly overrated, yes he is great, but you can only be as good as the QB.
22. Bengals- With Carson Palmer back and healthy, with Chad OchoCinco with his head on straight (at least it seems), and with Coles as the number 2 WR, the Bengals are primed to be a surprise this season- but the defense still leaves some to be desired (although Tank Johnson and Roy Williams are solid). Also watch out for Cedric Benson this season- I think he will quietly have a good year.
23. Cardinals– I think they will have the biggest drop of any team in the NFL. I am just not sold on them performing as they did last season, although Larry Fitzgerald is tied as the best WR in the game, and Boldin is probably the best 3rd down WR in the game. I am not a fan of the defense (it is a serviceable one though) or the running game, or even Warner repeating his stats from last season.
24. Jets- Starting a rookie QB doesn’t usually result in great season’s in the NFL (Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco were huge exceptions last season). I don’t think that Sanchez has enough experience yet to be a star QB and I hope the Jets use Thomas Jones and Leon Washington as the great compliments that they are. I do love the signing of Bart Scott though. He makes an excellent inside out combo with Kris Jenkins at the nose tackle.
25. Bills- As I mentioned before WRs are as good as the QB. I think Owens is past prime and I think the real star WR is Evans, but Owens will want more touches regardless of what he says and that won’t be a good chemistry, especially when they aren’t winning games. Trent Edwards is just mediocre to me, and the defense leaves some to be desired, and not having Lynch for the first 3 games will hurt.
26. Jaguars- Jones-Drew will shine as the feature back and Garrard will get the job done at managing the game (but not taking it over). Torry Holt brings good leadership to the team, but the defense doesn’t jump off the page at you and the WR core overall is weak.
27. Bucs- The Bucs are a mess, and probably still thinking about how bad they blew it last season. Byron Leftwich to me was actually a good signing, and Bryant is a solid receiver. Cadillac Williams is a good back if healthy, I am not a huge fan of Ward if he is called on as the feature back though. Barret Rudd is a solid MLB, but the rest of the team leaves some to be desired.
28. Chiefs– Matt Cassel was the answer at QB, but who does he have to throw the ball too? Dwayne Bowe is decent, Engram is decent- but they have no studs. Larry Johnson is not the same anymore and the defense is mediocre at best.
29. Browns– The Browns are another team that is a mess. As of 9/10 they still don’t have a number 1 QB on the depth chart on their website. That says it all. The QB is the offensive leader, and they still aren’t sure. Braylon Edwards will need to return to his 07-08 form and Jamal Lewis is a decent back but no star like he used to be. The defense is so-so, Shaun Rogers is a solid NT, but not much more than that.
30. Raiders- Al Davis PERIOD. What? Why? Are some questions that come to mind. Darren McFadden and Michael Bush will be the bright spots, and not much more from them this season.
31. Lions– Same boat as the Jets, starting a rookie QB is not historically a good move, but then again the Lions can not physically be worse than last year. I do expect them to win a game this season, but it has to be early or the “Here we go again!” cries will be loud and clear. Kevin Jones is a solid RB, and for fantasy footballers- he is worth a roster spot.
32. Rams- Marc Bulger is terrible- I will never figure out what went wrong with him. They lost their veteran leader in Torry Holt. Steven Jackson, as good as he is, can’t run the ball every down. The Rams also have no defense and are the worst team in the NFL for the 2009-2010 season.
That will do it for the NFL Power Rankings, thanks for reading and let me know if you disagree or agree by posting in the comments section.