Who are the top ten teams in the NFL to enter the 2010 season? Which teams are just outside and could enter as soon as next week? A brief evaluation of each of the top ten teams in these top ten NFL Power Rankings.
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NFL Power Rankings #10: New York Jets
I’m giving the New York Jets the #10 position as a respect for participating in the 2010 AFC Championship game than what I anticipate from this team or being better than Atlanta and Houston. After starting 3-0, the Jets went 4-7 before being handed a playoff birth by the Colts and Bengals. The Jets rely on winning games via their defense and rushing game. Despite that, Mark Sanchez threw 20 interceptions last season. Sanchez must cut back on this dramatically because the Jets aren’t getting back to the playoffs with a quarterback having below a 70 rating much less the Super Bowl.
They’ll have a chance to earn their power ranking position against Baltimore on Monday Night Football.
NFL Power Rankings #09: Cincinnati Bengals
I could have given this #9 spot to the Bengals, Falcons, or Texans. They’re the teams I feel have a chance to be the most balanced in 2010. I’m giving the edge to Cincinnati because they made the playoffs in 2010, Owens should add some zip to the offense by season’s end, and the Bengals have the best defense of the three teams. They could lose this position by next week if they lose to New England, however.
NFL Power Rankings #08: New England Patriots
The New England Patriots have lost a step since the Super Bowl embarrassment against the Giants and Tom Brady’s knee injury, but Brady should return to 100% this season. If Bill Belichick can return his previously vaunted defense to any bit of its former self, the Patriots will be one of the more balanced teams in the NFL.
NFL Power Rankings #07: Dallas Cowboys
Same thing every year from experts: The Cowboys will win the Super Bowl! We’ll hear them retract and go back to this statement every other week and it’s because of the inconsistent performance from a roster that has a ton of talent. Wade Phillips is a good defensive coordinator, but he’s not head coach material… until he’s replaced, the Cowboys can go 16-0 and they won’t advance into February. They’ll be good, but I’ll have to see greatness to believe it.
NFL Power Rankings #06: San Diego Chargers
Is #6 low for the Chargers? Chargers normally start slow before entering the playoffs as one of the NFL’s Super Bowl favorites. Then, Nate Kaeding and Norv Turner do everything in their power to eliminate them.
They’re the Cowboys of the AFC: Great talent, but underachieving coaching staff. I’m starting them off low because I perceive a bit of a slow start, but Rivers will lead them back into the top 5 no later than the second half of 2010.
NFL Power Rankings #05: Baltimore Ravens
With the additions of Anquan Boldin and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, and the maturing of Joe Flacco, the Baltimore Ravens are expected to accompany their defense with a high-octane offense. Beware, however: The Ravens defenses lost a step in 2009 because of aging and free agency. Their paper-thin secondary suggests this isn’t the same vaunted defense that Mike Singletary or Rex Ryan operated deep into the last decade. Joe Flacco needs to take another step on the quarter ladder for stardom for the Ravens to become a true Super Bowl contender.
NFL Power Rankings #04: Green Bay Packers
Along with the Dallas Cowboys, the Green Bay Packers have become the sexy pick to win the Super Bowl. Green Bay’s youth, dynamic offense, and opportunistic defense has experts praising the Packers chances of playing deep into January.
As a Packers fan… don’t get too cocky: Packers played great in the 2009 preseason before Rodgers got hammered for the first half of the season because of the offensive line. The Packers have many questions including anything concerning special teams, their defensive backfield, and even offensive line interior. They’re not a lock, but they have tremendous potential.
NFL Power Rankings #03: Minnesota Vikings
Some fans are writing off the Vikings prematurely because of preseason injuries to their receivers and Brett Favre’s ankle surgery. I’m giving them a high ranking and a chance to show me what they’re really about in the New Orleans Saints game before I start condemning them. Many people writing off the Vikings could be putting them on the top of their power rankings next week… then again, I could be removing them from mine.
NFL Power Rankings #02: Indianapolis Colts
The Indianapolis Colts are always a strong team because of Peyton Manning and superb coaching. Okay, it’s more like Peyton Manning and Tom Moore while the rest of the coaching staff is either good enough or just looks good because of them. Still, the Colts are the defending AFC champions and deserve this spot until they’re defeated or the Saints are defeated.
NFL Power Rankings #01: New Orleans Saints
Defending Super Bowl champions return the majority of their team from last season. Until they’re defeated, they’ll remain as my #1 team on the power rankings.
Honorable Mentions: Houston Texans, Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans, Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants
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