The start of the 2010 NFL is right around the corner and that means it is time for us to find out which teams will rise to the top and who will falter. Here are the NFL Power Rankings based on where the teams finished last year and how their off-season went.
1. New Orleans Saints
The Super Bowl Champion Saints will enter the 2010 NFL season ready to become the first repeat champions since the New England Patriots. While this may be a tall order, the Saints have quarterback Drew Brees, who has the ability to lead them to the Promised Land.
2. Indianapolis Colts
The Colts’ disappointing performance in the Super Bowl will only fuel the fire of quarterback Peyton Manning. The focus on their defense in the NFL draft will help keep their division within their reach.
3. New England Patriots
The Patriots should have no problem wrapping up another division title at the end of the 2010 NFL regular season. Beyond that, it will be up to the aging tandem of Tom Brady and Randy Moss. If Wes Welker is able to bounce back to 100% from his injury, this is going to be a dangerous offense.
4. Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys took big strides in 2009 and will continue to improve in the coming 2010 NFL season. This top ranked offense will continue to improve this season as quarterback Tony Romo shares the ball with capable receivers; Jason Witten, Miles Austin, and rookie Dez Bryant.
5. Green Bay Packers
In 2009, the Packers quietly went under the radar despite having the second best defense in the NFL and the eight passing offense. As quarterback Aaron Rodgers continues to grow into one of the best in the NFL, the Packers defense will be able to keep the pressure on the opposition.
6. San Diego Chargers
In the 2010 NFL season, the Chargers will begin their life without LaDainian Tomlinson and prepare to have rookie Ryan Matthews shoulder the load. Even if the Chargers do not improve upon their running game by leaps and bounds, quarterback Phillip Rivers will have this team playoff bound.
7. Minnesota Vikings
We all know Brett Favre is going to be back for the 2010 NFL season, the only question is at what level he will perform at. Eventually Father Time is going to catch but with running back Adrian Peterson in the backfield, the Vikings will still run away with the NFC North.
8. Baltimore Ravens
One of the sleeper picks for the 2011 Super Bowl will be the Ravens thanks to their dominant running game and the development of quarterback Joe Flacco. If the rookies they select in the NFL Draft can produce, this could be a dangerous team.
9. Houston Texans
The 2010 NFL season will finally be the year the Texans make some noise and advance to the playoffs. The tandem of quarterback Matt Schaub and wide receiver Andre Johnson is going to cause nightmares for the opposing defensive coordinators.
10. Atlanta Falcons
Though the Falcons took a step back in 2009, NFL teams should not take them lightly this year. Their defensive will be improved and we should see quarterback Matt Ryan returned to the same level of production he had during his rookie season.
11. New York Jets
Though the Jets were within one game of reaching the Super Bowl, things are not going to be as easy in the 2010 NFL season. Quarterback Mark Sanchez is going to need to find success throwing the ball downfield if this team wants to make another deep run in the playoffs.
12. San Francisco 49ers
The NFC West is up for grabs and the 49ers are going to be in the right place at the right time make a serious run. Quarterback Alex Smith should have a productive season while their defense is going to give opponents fits.
13. Cincinnati Bengals
In case you were not aware, the Bengals success last year was a result of a dependable running game and a top rated defense that did not gain national recognition. If they can find a receiver to step up and play opposite Chad Johnson, this team could make a run in the playoffs.
14. Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins 2009 NFL season looked lost when Chad Pennington and Ronnie Brown went down with an injury. By the time the season was over, the Dolphins found their quarterback of the future in Chad Henne. With the addition of talented but troubled wide receiver Brandon Marshall, the Dolphins have a chance to make a run at a wildcard position.
15. New York Giants
The Giants are looking to bounce back from a disappointing season by returning to their physical style of football. While the running back position should return to form, the Giants try to upgrade their defense by taking a chance in the first round. If the Giants are unable to get pressure on the quarterback it is going to be a long season.
16. Pittsburgh Steelers
The one team that will be glad for the start of the 2010 NFL season is the Steelers, so everyone can focus their attention to the games on the field rather than what their players are doing. The Steelers will be hard pressed to make a playoff run with Roethlisberger missing more than a third of the season.
17. Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles decided to place all of their eggs in one basket when they traded their franchise quarterback to their division rival, the Redskins. If Kevin Kolb is unable to live up to the hype generated by management, this is going to be a rough season in the City of Brotherly Love.
18. Carolina Panthers
The Panthers made the decision to move on from Jake Delhomme and place their hopes in Matt Moore, temporarily. If he is able to protect the ball, the offense can still thrive in the hands of their running back tandem, DeAngelo Williams and Jonathon Stewart.
19. Tennessee Titans
All eyes will be on the Titans this year to see if Chris Johnson can repeat his dominant performance on the field when he ran for over 2,000 yards. A bigger focus than the running game should be the lackluster defense that was middle of the pack at best.
20. Arizona Cardinals
With Kurt Warner hanging up his cleats at the end of the 2009 NFL season, the time has come for Matt Leinart to show he has what it takes to be an NFL quarterback. He should find moderate success thanks to the best receiver in the game, but it will not be enough to help them win another title.
21. Washington Redskins
The biggest achievement for the Redskins during the 2010 NFL season will be the move they made to bring quarterback Donovan McNabb over. He may have an adequate receiver in Santana Moss, but he does not have the dominant defense to help keep the opposition from scoring.
22. Denver Broncos
There are some who think rookie Tim Tebow is going to be the savior for the Broncos and lead them on a playoff run. Even if he has moderate success, their defense is going to revert back to their 2008 form where they were full of holes like Swiss cheese.
23. Chicago Bears
The Bears banked their future on the arm of quarterback Jay Cutler and Coach Lovie Smith will be paying the price before the 2010 NFL regular season is over. The lack of help at the wide receiver spot is one of the reasons why they will not reach the playoffs.
24. Oakland Raiders
The Raiders finally made the right choice by moving in a different direction at the quarterback position. The addition of Jason Campbell should provide more consistency on offense and allow the Raiders’ defense to get some rest during the game.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars seem to be spinning their wheels while team management tries to find a way to fill the stadium. Coach Jack Del Rio is on thin ice and when the Jags get off to the slow start, he will be looking for a new job.
26. Seattle Seahawks
While Pete Carroll may have gotten out of USC before the NCAA knocked them down a few pegs, he is not going to have it any easier in Seattle. If their defense can force enough turnovers, this team might be able to break the .500 mark by the end of the 2010 NFL season.
27. Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs are starting to develop a cohesive offensive unit that should be able to put some points on the board. The only problem is have they done enough to fix the defensive side. They are going in the right direction by drafting the 2010 Rookie of the Year, Eric Berry.
28. Detroit Lions
Slowly but surely, Coach Jim Schwartz is re-creating the Lions into a NFL team. If their offensive studs, Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson can stay healthy during the 2010 NFL season, they should be able to put some points up on the board. Hopefully their decisions on defense will shore up a front seven that was dreadful last year.
29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers are handing over their offense to second year quarterback Josh Freeman as he tries to earn the team more than three wins in 2010. No matter how many passes he completes, if the Bucs do not shore up their rushing defense, it will be another season with double digit losses.
30. Buffalo Bills
While the Bills were able to win 6 games in 2009, things are going to be a lot harder in the 2010 NFL season if they do not find a way to move the ball effectively. Of course the rotating carousel at the quarterback position has been no help.
31. St. Louis Rams
The Rams started their rebuilding process of right by selecting Sam Bradford with the first overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. Even with this, the team has too many holes to fill and will have to deal with another disappointing season.
32. Cleveland Browns
In 2009, the Browns found a way to win five games despite their opponents out scoring them by 130 points during the season. Though they have questions at the quarterback position, the Browns have Joshua Cribbs, one of the more exciting players in the NFL. Browns fans can expect another high draft pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.