All World All Sports Blogs
Football gets underway in a couple of weeks. I can't wait. Fans have been treated to great football games this decade. Week after week highlight reels shine great moments from acrobatic plays to infamous football follies. Here's my own version of Power Rankings. No statistical information used, just my gut instincts used to rank teams (will be updated every 4 weeks of '09 season).
1- Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) Super Bowl Champs get early recognition. Smart play calling offensive scheme and punishing in your face defense. Repeat? Could be.
2- New England Patriots (11-5) Brady is back. Fantasy owners load up on Brady, Welker, Moss and perhaps RB Maroney. Defense is only question mark right now. Belichick one of NFL's best game day planners. Pats itching to return to Super status. 14-2 is not out of the question.
3- New York Giants (12-4) Manning signed a mega deal and wants to prove he's worth every penny. Punishing ball control running game and sack happy defenses will give opposing coordinators plenty to handle. WR remains teams biggest question mark. I'm miffed they passed on a few veteran WR's to help settle young & unproven corps. Manning needs to get these guys on the same page.
4- San Diego Chargers (8-8) Chargers biggest enemy has been terrible play calling and lack of sustained ball control. LT should be given 30 chances per game to work his magic. Rivers just signed a new deal. This team wants to win badly. Should've been 12-4 last season but lost tough games. Defense was impatient and gave up too many big plays in '08. These guys should easily record 11 wins in weak division.
5- Baltimore Ravens (11-5) I really like how this team is shaping up. Ravens remind me of Parcell's Giants teams. Ball control offense and bruising defense will be tough to beat. Strong contenders might play for AFC Championship.
6- Carolina Panthers (12-4) Great execution has been key to their success. Running game was unstoppable in '08 might be better in '09. Defense needs to set up field position. Divisional games never loomed larger.
7- Philadelphia Eagles (9-6-1) As usual, everyone seems to be on Phidelphia's bandwagon. McNabb was never sharper than he was down the stretch last season. WR's should be better which might propel this squad from a should be good team to a bonified winner. Health is always a concern. Westbrook, McNabb and lineman must stay injury free. Execution on offense in key situations has always haunted Philly. Defense will have plenty of tough matchups in divisional games. It'll be an anything can happen season. They do look very strong on paper.
8- Indianapolis Colts (12-4) Indy has been written off as an over the hill team. You can bet Peyton Manning isn't going down without a fight. Big play offense and big play defense. Manning needs to open up the offense after a conservative '08. Let the chips fall where they may. Colts are far from done.
9- Tennessee Titans (13-3) Tennessee's running game played huge during their 13 win '08. Collins returns as their main signal caller. Great coaching staff. Stingy defense. Collins has to make big passes when called on. Titans looking tough but I expect defenses to be ready for them this year.
10 - Chicago Bears (9-7) Welcome Jay Cutler. Who knows how far the Bears can go. If D gives them field position and Cutler can lead this offense then skies the limit. Bears are dangerous because no one, not even themselves, know how good they can be. WR's have tremendous speed. Hands? We'll soon find out. Offensive line will be creative opening running lanes and out of pocket pass protection.
11- Minnesota Vikings (10-6) Hopefully, Minnesota learned something the Jets refused to do last year. Call plays Favre has worked on in practice. Another dangerous NFC North team will give Chicago a run for division honors. Favre has something to prove after various outspoken persons denounced his '09 return. Vikings have super talent on offense with slippery dynamo Peterson and a slew of speed burning receivers. Favre has plenty of weapons. Defensively, this unit is on the rise via speed and power. Look out... if Favre is effective Minnesota will quickly become one of NFC's top squads.
12- Atlanta Falcons (11-5) I really can't explain why Atlanta remains relatively low on my list. Ryan, Turner, Tony Gonzalez and talented WR's. I guess it's because I remain skeptical of their D. Offense should put up big numbers. Not sure what to expect from defense. A wild card challenger and exciting to watch. Wins might be tough to come by this year.
13- Seattle Seahawks (4-12) Yep, that's right. Forget about Seattle's dismal injury plagued '08. It's a new season for a team with greater potential. Not many give Seattle a fighting chance. A healthy Hasselback will have plenty of weapons. Defense will not spend nearly as much time on the field as Hawks return to ball control team. They'll win the NFC West.
14- Dallas Cowboys (9-7) Why can't Cowboys win in September? Play calling? Bickering? I'm calling it lack of leadership. New Cowboys Stadium may inspire these guys. NFL rules committee may need to address looming issue of punters hitting the overhead scoreboard. 'Boys offense should thrive but seems to stall due to bad penalties. Defense has it's moments. Special teams has unmatched breakaway play speed. NFC is toughest. Dallas will need to be in top form every play.
15- Miami Dolphins (11-5) Miami stunned AFC East teams by winning 11 after a 1 win year in '08. Pennington remains one of NFL's best play action passers. WR's huge question mark and should see plenty of single coverages early on. It's all about running setting up passing plays. Wildcat offense kept opposing D's off balance. Dolphins D remains solid. Can't see them catching a Brady-led Pats team but these guys have an outside shot at challenging for wild card.
16-32 A few good teams with enough talent to challenge. Saints, Packers, Texans & Cards will have their moments. Not much to be said in positive light for remaining teams facing long, hard, losing seasons.
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