Wednesday, September 4, 2013

2013 NFL Preview Extravaganza, Part 1: Power Rankings

I'll have the full division and conference playoff standings tomorrow. Along with the playoff predictions, Super Bowl predictions, and award predictions. All of that will be coming in Part 2.

But for now, I have a list of each and every one of the 32 NFL teams. I'm going to now take that list, and order it from 1 to 32, from the best team in the league, to the worst team. The records that you see tomorrow will not be fully indicative of what I think about each of these teams, because when it came to filling out the schedule grid, factors such as strength of schedule came into play and may have skewed some records.

Anyway, here it is, your preseason Power Rankings!:

  1. Seattle Seahawks- Best team in the league, and if Percy Harvin comes back for the playoffs and is even at 80 percent, they're going to be unstoppable. The defense, which was already dominant, added Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett, which is criminal. They could be a historically great defense. With a full strength Harvin, they have absolutely no holes. 
  2. San Francisco 49ers- I love Kaepernick and I think he's poised for a great season, but with Michael Crabtree out and Delanie Walker gone, the receiving options aren't great. I'm putting them here because Crabtree will be back later in the year, and most likely by the start of the playoffs. The defense is still great, and are only slightly under the Seahawks. 
  3. Cincinnati Bengals- While I think that Andy Dalton isn't great, he's good enough for this team to be among the elites this year. The defense is going to be devastating, right up there with the first two teams on my list. If Giovani Bernard can be as good as I think he can be, it will be hard to stop them on offense. Bernard will decide everything for me here, because if he isn't that great, then they're relying on BenJarvus Green-Ellis to carry the load, and therefore I would have to drop the Bengals at least five spots on this list. 
  4. Houston Texans- I think Dalton is better than Schaub, and that's why I have the Texans just below the Bengals. Otherwise, they are very similar teams. 
  5. New England Patriots- The running game is quite good and Tom Brady is Tom Brady. I expect Danny Amendola to finally stay on the field and form a nice connection with Brady, becoming a better version of Wes Welker. The defense isn't great, but I like it better than I did last year. If Aqib Talib can stay healthy, he's going to be key in stopping Andre Johnson, A.J. Green, and Demaryius Thomas in the playoffs. 
  6. Green Bay Packers- So. Aaron Rodgers. The receivers are really good, and Eddie Lacy could be important in finally providing some balance to this offense. Also I really like the secondary and the linebackers. I don't really love the defensive line, but they're a really good all around team. 
  7. Denver Broncos- We know about Peyton Manning and the receivers. That's pretty much the only thing that I really like about Denver. Without Elvis Dumervil, Von Miller is the only really good player on the defense. They definitely can't stop the Patriots or Bengals in the playoffs. Champ Bailey is getting older and I don't know if he can still lock down the top receivers in the game. But still, Peyton Manning has three good receivers. So, somebody try and stop him. 
  8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- I'm all in on Josh Freeman here. This is the last time I'm putting my trust in him. Ever. If he disappoints me once again, I'm finally breaking up with him. I like this team overall. If Freeman is good, they can win the division. If Freeman is bad, they're winning no more than 7 games. It's that simple, and I'm hitching my wagon to Freeman. Sink or swim. 
  9. Atlanta Falcons- A very similar team to Green Bay, and much like the Packers, the Falcons have added a dreadlocked running back who will finally add balance to the offense. I like the Falcons defense a little better, but the Packers have Rodgers. 
  10. Baltimore Ravens- Joe Flacco isn't as good as he showed in the playoffs last year. That's his potential, but he's really inconsistent, and I'm not ready to say that he continues his playoff performance over a full season. The offseason losses are very overrated, they'll be fine. I had them as the eleventh team in my power rankings going into the playoffs last year. They got a lot better during the postseason, but I don't think that's carrying over. 
  11. Kansas City Chiefs- They shouldn't have been that bad last year, and Alex Smith is a lot better than the Matt Cassel/Brady Quinn combo that they threw out last year. The rest of the team is quite talented. 
  12. Washington Redskins- Robert Griffin III is probably going to run less, but he's still a major threat, and therefore Alfred Morris will benefit from him once again. The return of Brian Orakpo adds something to their defense that they didn't have last year, but the rest of the unit isn't that great. 
  13. Detroit Lions- Ziggy Ansah, from my country, Ghana, adds a great threat to this already stacked defensive line. That will improve the defense a lot. Also, Reggie Bush finally gives the Lions a running back that can do something other than fall forward, into the line of scrimmage (Mikel Leshoure). They won't get ridiculously unlucky again, so they should make a run at the playoffs. 
  14. New York Giants- The linebackers are potentially bad and the secondary is a disaster now that Stevie Brown is out. They're not going to be that great, but if they somehow sneak into the playoffs, anything can happen because of how good the offense is. Unless they run into the Niners or Seahawks. 
  15. Indianapolis Colts- I'm sorry Andrew Luck, but the defense is really bad, and Erik Walden doesn't fix it. They were comically lucky last year, and had no business getting 11 wins and making the playoffs. 
  16. Chicago Bears- Marc Trestman is an intriguing coach, but the offensive line is such an issue that it will once again plague them. 
  17. Philadelphia Eagles- I don't like the defense that much, but I think that Chip Kelly is going to lead the offense to some success. Also, they have a cupcake schedule. 
  18. Pittsburgh Steelers- The Steelers are going to be entering rebuilding mode after this year. I really think they're finally too old on defense, and they're ready to fall apart. 
  19. Dallas Cowboys- Romo and Dez Bryant are going to connect very often and for a lot of yards. The rest of the team isn't that great. There's a few places here and there that interest me, like Sean Lee and of course DeMarcus Ware on defense. Ho hum. How 'bout them Cowboys. Jason Garrett is finally going to lose his job after the season.
  20. Cleveland Browns- I can't believe I'm trusting Brandon Weeden to lead this team to mediocrity, but that's what I'm doing. They have a lot of potential and have a shot at the playoffs if Weeden and the receivers can get it together. The defense is young and really talented in certain areas. We already know that Joe Haden is awesome. First round pick Barkevious Mingo, aside from having one of the greatest names ever will be a force to be reckoned with in the pass rush. They're a year off from the playoffs I think, but they're getting there. 
  21. St. Louis Rams- Sam Bradford isn't the answer, but Tavon Austin and Chris Givens are decent receivers who will make some big plays for them. The defense should keep them in a lot of games. They'll be an interesting team to watch.  
  22. New Orleans Saints- I don't understand all this hype around New Orleans. Their defends was historically putrid last year, and not much has changed. Yeah, Sean Payton is back and he's going to lead the offense. Hooray! Too bad they can't stop a nose bleed. 
  23. Carolina Panthers- I think that Cam Newton is going to get better, as he has struggled with accuracy. This defense has some nice parts, though the secondary still isn't very good. They are a middle of the road team if Cam takes a step forward. 
  24. Arizona Cardinals- This team has potential, but I don't like the running game, and the defense has a lot of potential issues. One of the best linebackers in the league, Daryl Washington is going to miss the first four games of the year, and they may not recover from that. Before we continue, Just remember that Patrick Peterson is one of the top ten players in the NFL, when you take into account that he's such a dangerous punt returner as well. I love him. He's also among the top three pure shutdown corners in the game, along with Richard Sherman and Darrelle Revis. 
  25. Miami Dolphins- Tannehill is going to improve, but the players surrounding him on offense won't help him. The defense is decent, and has some potential. They very well could make the playoffs, but that would mean Tannehill because a star. I'm not going to say that. 
  26. Minnesota Vikings- Adrian Peterson is amazing. Only thing is, in order for Christian Ponder to make it back to the playoffs, Peterson is going to have to be absolutely superhuman. While it's possible, I don't think it's happening. And just you wait for them to once again make me eat my words. 
  27. Tennessee Titans- I still think Jake Locker has some potential, but the offensive line, despite the attention they've put on it this offseason, won't do him or Chris Johnson any favors. The defense also isn't that good. 
  28. New York Jets- Rex Ryan is going to lose his job, but I don't think he really cares. So many teams will line up to hire him. I wrote about them here, so there's not much more to say. 
  29. San Diego Chargers- Philip Rivers is now simply a bad quarterback. There's nothing to see on this team, unless Rivers comes back to his 2008 form. 
  30. Buffalo Bills- E.J. and C.J. are going to be a decent combo in the future. Maybe. Manuel has some potential, and we already know that Spiller is really good. The problem is the defense. No way they're going anywhere with that defense. 
  31. Jacksonville Jaguars- Blaine Gabbert is awful. 
  32. Oakland Raiders- This roster is completely devoid of talent. Compound that with the fact that Terrelle Pryor will be playing a lot for this team, it's not looking pretty. Even if Matt Flynn takes over, he has no weapons. I'm seriously thinking that 0-16 is possible here. That or relegation to the CFL. They should just start selling the Clowney jerseys already. 

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