BTSC 2010 Power Rankings: Pre-Preseason Edition


I know, I know, preseason rankings are pointless, but it still generates an interesting debate.  Therefore I have organized my power rankings based on last year's performance, free agency, the draft, and general bias some other stuff.  My rankings are based on which team I think can win it all, not who will be the regular season champions (sorry San Diego).

Here is ESPN's most current power rankings.  No surprise they have the Saints at #1.  However, they have us ranked at #19, which I think is ridiculous.  I wonder where all those people are that always say, "ESPN loves the Steelers, blah, blah, blah."  Their logic is that we won't be able to pass the ball for the first 4-6 weeks (they actually say 6). "What else do you need to know?"  I think you should probably know something about a team's run offense as well as their play on the other side of the ball, but that is just me.

Anyway, check out the power rankings after the jump.

Rank Team Comments
1 New Orleans Saints No surprise here. Until someone knocks them off, they are the champs. Great move to resign Darren Sharper and grab CB Patrick Robinson to save their poor pass defense. The Saints will have a similar mentality to last year: we will out score your offense and have a opportunistic defense.  Can it work again?
2 Minnesota Vikings Brett Favre went ahead and had the ankle surgery, so I think it is safe to say he is coming back.  Arguably, their pass defense was their weakness last year.  However, Antoine Winfield is now healthy and they drafted CB Chris Cook and a couple of potential pass rushers.
3 Indianapolis Colts They still have Peyton Manning and IMO the best receiving core in the league.  They needed some pass rushers so they went out and got two solid picks in DE Jerry Hughes and LB Pat Angerer.  Look for yet another 10 win season for these guys.
4 Dallas Cowboys It kind of scares me how good the Cowboys could be this year.  They got a steal in WR Dez Bryant and got one of the best LBs in the draft, Sean Lee, in the 2nd.  They have all of the right components to win, but can they win when it matters most?  I'm looking at you Tony Romo.
5 Green Bay Packers The Green Bay Packers were my dark horse team going into the playoffs last year.  They had protection problems so they drafted OT Bryan Bulaga (who free fell like a bag of bricks in the draft).  I am a bit concerned about some of the defensive flops they had (most notably Ben Roethlisberger's 500 yard night), but I think Dom Capers will fix that.
6 San Diego Chargers This team always looks spectacular on paper and tremendous in the regular season, but Phillip Rivers transforms to an average QB in the playoffs as shown by his 79.2 post season QB rating (95.8 career).  They still have all the great playmakers minus LT, whose production has not been stellar lately.  They added RB Ryan Matthews to replace him.  Why they did not try to fix their run defense a little more is beyond me.
7 Baltimore Ravens I really did my best to push these guys as far down as I could.  However, the Ravens are looking really scary this year with the addition of WR Anquan Boldin in the passing game.  Despite what they say, Terrence Cody is really fat and needs a lot of conditioning (he is heavier than Casey Hampton and Vince Wilfork).  Also, LB Sergio Kindle is a great addition. They seemingly have all the pieces receivers, great backs, solid line, and a great defense.  However, I will continue to doubt them until Joe Flacco can climb the stairs and join the top tier QBs and lead his team.
8 Philadelphia Eagles I question myself by putting this team this high with the departure of Donvan McNabb.  However, Kevin Kolb looked very solid when McNabb was down.  I think Brian Westbrook departing is good for them, because now young LeSean McCoy can get more touches and he looked great in games where he got 10+.  Anyway, this team is scary young and just got younger with 13 draft picks!  They will either be really good or fall flat on Kolb's face.
9 New York Jets It's crazy how a good playoff run made everyone forget that this was a 7-7 team that beat two teams resting their starters to stumble into the playoffs.  Mark Sanchez's TD/INT ratio and completion % were bad, even for a rookie.  If he shows any sort of sophomore slump this team could find itself below .500 with games against BAL, NWE, MIN, GB, CIN, and PIT.  There is no doubt that this team has a great defense and can run the ball, but if they get behind I do not think Sanchez has the arm to fight back.
10 New England Patriots
The biggest news here is that it appears Wes Welker is likely out for the entire season with his knee injury.  Couple that with Randy Moss not looking like the WR that stretches the field anymore and you've got problems.  IMO, last year Tom Brady did not look like the great QB that he has been.  They had a lot of draft picks, including solid picks in TE Rob Gronkowski, CB Devin McCourty, and LB Brandon Spikes.  This is still the Patriots though, you can never count them out.
11 Houston Texans Is this the year they finally make the playoffs?  Well there are only 5 AFC teams above them, so maybe!  If they figure out how to run better with Steve Slaton, Ryan Moats, or draft pick Ben Tate they will have a better shot.  Additionally, they drafted a solid CB, Kareem Jackson, who should help their woeful secondary.
12 New York Giants The Giants are a confusing bunch.  No one could have seen them going 8-8 last year, especially with Eli Manning putting up some of the best numbers of his career.  The defense was non existent at times.  Therefore, they hit the draft hard for defense with all but 2 of their 7 picks looking at defense, including their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.
13 Pittsburgh Steelers It is hard for us to be put much higher than this. All of the teams above this, with the exception of the Jets and the Eagles, have solid franchise QBs.  For at least the first four games, we will be without our franchise QB, so we are at a disadvantage.  However, we do still have a very good defense (hopefully a 4 quarter defense).  If Dennis Dixon or Byron Leftwich can step up and do not lose games, I believe we can go 2-2 or maybe even 3-1 in that stint.  If we are sitting at 2-2 when Ben returns, we will be a very dangerous team that no one wants on their schedule.
14 Tennessee Titans Which team will we see?  The one that started 0-6? Or the one that finished 8-2?  One thing that went heavily undocumented in this teams struggles was that they got a new defensive coordinator after 2008 and had many injuries in the secondary.  Once the DC settled in and the players got healthy this team became scary and much harder to pass on.  Vince Young was the beneficiary of coincidence IMO, slotted in right at the apex of this turn.  VY is a decent QB, but I do not see him leading a team to a championship.
15 Cincinnati Bengals This one is based on complete bias.  The Bengals bounce back and forth from being a contender to a subpar team.  The last time they had back to back playoff teams was in 1981 and 1982, the last playoff win being in 1990.  History does not define the future and the Bengals return a very good team.  However, they have a much tougher schedule this year and I really doubt their ability to sweep the division again or even only lose 1 game.
16 San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers are on the fringe of breaking into the contenders ring.  They remain in the worst division in football that only got worse with Kurt Warner's departure.  Vernon Davis looks every bit the part of an elite TE that I thought he would be coming out of Maryland.  Moreover, they were smart in the draft to grab two OL in Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati to give their average QBs more protection.  A couple more good defensive picks has put this team in position to push for control of the NFC West.
17 Atlanta Falcons The Falcons did not have Matt Ryan for a few games and at only 75% for others, but still finished 9-7.  They added Dunta Robinson in free agency and drafted more defense, like LB Sean Weatherspoon and DT Corey Peters, to improve their lackluster, under-performing defense.  This team could be a dark horse team in the NFC.
18 Arizona Cardinals Sorry Arizona, no matter how many ex-Steelers you sign it will not save you.  Losing Kurt Warner hurts a lot and evidently Matt Leinart is not looking great because they are pursuing Marc Bulger.  Could be a long season in the desert.
19 Denver Broncos Josh, Josh, Josh (McDaniels).  What were you doing in the draft?  In the first round you grab a WR projected as the 4th or 5th best before any other WR.  Then, you trade up to grab Tim Tebow in the first round.  Did you not realize that 31 other teams were not that interested in him?  Both of these guys could have been grabbed much later.  The second half struggle of 2009 represents how they will play this year.
20 Miami Dolphins The Dolphins had arguably one of the best off season acquisitions in Brandon Marshall.  However, they still don't have a great QB to throw to him.  When you factor in that the Dolphins play in a division with two top tier AFC contenders, their chances diminish even more.
21 Chicago Bears Jay Cutler throws it really hard, but more often than not at the wrong color.  They had no WRs last year and they did not draft any this year.  Brian Urlacher will be back, but that defense is shades of the one that went to the SB in 2006.
22 Carolina Panthers Jake Delhomme was bad, so they got rid of him.  So they replaced him with Matt Moore.  Ouch.  Or they have a lot of faith in draft pick Jimmy Clausen.  Well, they are a team that likes to run more than throw, so it will not be too awful.
23 Jacksonville Jaguars There offensive line was their biggest weakness last year, yielding 44 sacks.  Obviously, they addressed it in the draft, right?  No.  They did not draft a single OL.  You cannot win games if your QB cannot breath (unless you have a defense like the 2008 Steelers).
24 Seattle Seahawks T.J. Houshmanzadeh fizzled after arriving from Cincinnati and WR was a big hole.  To patch it up they drafted WR Golden Tate in the 2nd.  I believe they had one of the best drafts on the board, but they are still missing a lot of components that cannot be filled immediately by young, inexperienced players.
25 Washington Redskins Well, their running back group is old enough to tell tales of the Civil War and McNabb only has one more target than Cutler.  The defense is solid, but there are a lot of stirrings in Washington about players/coaches being upset of the absence of Albert Haynesworth in OTAs.  The skins are in rebuild mode and have a long way to go.
26 Oakland Raiders They finally caught Al Davis sleeping and drafted some good players while he was dreaming of a body builder that could run a 3.5 40.  LB Ronaldo McClain will have an instant impact on the defense and DT Lamarr Houston will not be far behind.  Additionally, they are trying to bolster their line with 2 mid round tackles.  The acquisition of Campbell is good because he is not awful at football like CFL QB JaMarcus Russell.
27 Cleveland Browns The Browns could be a surprise this year.  They had a decent team with good players last year.  They added some good prospects in the draft like CB Joe Haden, S T.J. Ward, QB Colt McCoy, etc.  However, they somehow believe that Jake Delhomme will be a step up from Derick Anderson or Brady Quinn.  I do not see that happening.  They are in the last steps of rebuilding and a 6 win season could mean a lot for them.
28 Kansas City Chiefs
IMO, S Eric Berry will prove to be the best player from this year's draft.  Then, when you look at the Chiefs getting some solid 2nd and 3rd round picks, you have to like what they are doing there.  However, they still have a lot of problems that will lead to another long year for them.
29 Detroit Lions DT Ndamukong Suh and RB Jahvid Best will have immediate impacts on the team.  However, Matthew Stafford is only in his second year and still developing.  They bolstered their defense with Julian Peterson and Kyle Vanden Bosch, but both of those guys are getting old.  Following a 0 win and a 2 win season, I think the Lions can expect upwards of 3 wins.
30 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sorry, NYSF4, but I do not believe that Josh Freeman is a solid NFL QB, at least not yet.  This team has problems on both sides of the ball, but made some good picks to work on those.  DT Gerald McCoy, DT Brian Price, and WR Arrelious Benn should be first day starters.  However, they can only do so much.
31 Buffalo Bills They are one of the teams just switching to a 3-4, so they drafted accordingly.  Generally, teams struggle when they make that switch.  Also, drafting defense forced the Bills to negate their biggest need of offensive linemen, drafting only 1, Ed Wang in the 5th
32 St. Louis Rams Unless you live under a rock, it was quite transparent that the Rams were going to draft QB Sam Bradford #1 overall in the draft.  Their OL is still bad and cannot protect the rookie adequately.  They did draft an OT in the 2nd, but one guy is not going to revamp the entire line.  This team is in for a long year.
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